Various softwares and the internet have already become an intrinsic part of our lives, while others, like AI and Virtual Reality, will soon be ubiquitous
The lesson of history is that any technology that becomes widely deployed can only be displaced by a superior technology, but it never just goes away on its own. For example, wind and water mills were in use for centuries until steam mills came around. Steam power was used for ships and trains until internal combustion or electrical engines displaced them. Horse-drawn carts were used for more than two millennia before they were replaced by automobiles. This suggests that technological innovations based on digital technologies that have entered human society in the recent past will stay with us for quite some time.
TECHNOLOGY IN WORK PROCESSES
Digital technology has become a big part of our work processes, ever since computers were adopted, starting with mainframes in the 1970s, PCs in the 1980s, and the internet in the 1990s. Office tools like word processors and spreadsheets, internet search, and more recently AI and other advanced tools have made inroads into our workplaces and they will continue to be part of our lives for many more years.
Here are some examples:
Word Processing vs Typing
Computerised word processors have replaced typewriters everywhere in the world. The software is used to create, edit, store, duplicate, and print documents, and this is an essential part of all office workflow and will continue to remain so.
Internet Lookup vs Library Lookup
Searching through internet collections has replaced library research as the primary form of research for most scholars. Online and database searches provide flexibility, speed, and width of coverage that are beyond the resources of any library and this trend is likely to continue.
Spreadsheets vs Calculators
A spreadsheet can be used not only for simple calculations but also far more advanced number crunching, statistics, graphical displays, and many analytical tasks. Spreadsheets analytics is a big part of technologies that improve office productivity.
AI vs Traditional Software
Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and techniques can replace and improve many traditional software tools. For instance, computer vision is now carried out by deep neural networks rather than custom built software. Many other traditional software algorithms are being replaced and improved by AI methods.
Video Conferencing vs Long Distance Travel
Video conferencing and virtual reality can help companies save a lot of time and money by eliminating the need for long-distance travel. Companies can also conduct recruitment interviews via video chat.
TECHNOLOGY IN PRODUCTION PROCESSES
The latest technological advances in Automation, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are making production processes faster and more efficient. Here are some of the major technological benefits that have made present production processes more reliable than before –
Digitally managed supply chains
Companies are adopting digital technologies to improve their supply chain performance using more efficient tracking of shipments, and inventory management of inventory.
Factory Floor Robots
These days, autonomous robots are widely used for factory floor production tasks, for their precision, efficiency, and connectivity and their use in production processes will likely increase over time. Robots are also being used for many other tasks and this will also increase over time.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is used to automate office work using specialized software. It is being implemented widely to automate financial back offices, government work, and many other domains, and its use will expand over time.
Data-driven decisions and management
A lot of decision making used to be driven by subjective, intuitive thinking. More and more this is being replaced by data-based analytics and management techniques that depend critically on big data and analytics. This is another trend will stay with us for a long time.
Our homes and our workplaces have been disrupted by a host of digital technologies and some of these disruptions, like office software and the internet have already become an intrinsic part of our lives, while others, like AI and Virtual Reality, will soon be ubiquitous. And all such technologies are here to stay and stay with us for an indefinite future.
The article was first published in Entrepreneur India on 11th October 2018.
SP Jain School of Global Management offers an undergraduate course: Bachelor Of Data Science; and professional technology programs: Financial Technology and Big Data & Visual Analytics.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Debashis Guha (Director – Machine Learning)
Dr. Debashis Guha has more than two decades of experience in data analytics and machine learning, with an emphasis on economic and financial applications. He is the founder and CEO of a Bangalore based data analytics company, and has consulted for governments, central banks, multinational corporations and financial institutions across the world, and has taught in both USA and India. Dr. Guha is a graduate of IIT Kharagpur, and has a PhD from Columbia University in New York
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